Author: Michael Schacht

Publisher: Queen Games 2003

Awards: none



After the great success of Alhambra I was rather eager to see how the new QUEEN GAMES product Industria by Michael Schacht would meet the new standard as it had been set by Alhambra.

In this game, the players take up the roles of "Industry Tycoons" who have to manage and expand their family's enterprise through a period of 600 years. With the game being divided into 5 epochs, the players will try to acquire resources in order to build industrial plants and technology which was available in each epoch.

In essence, each epoch is divided into a total of 3 or 4 turns (depending on the number of players), and each of these turns is divided into 5 phases during each of which all players get a chance to act. All preparation that is needed for the game is that the 12 industry cards for each epoch (containing industrial plants, new technologies, resources and bonus cards) are randomly shuffled and placed next to the gameboard in hidden stacks. Then all players need to take the markers corresponding to their playing colour and then the game can start.

The first phase of a turn is that each player gets an income of 1 Taler (currency unit), and afterwards a number of industry cards from that epoch corresponding to the number of participating players will be turned over. Then, beginning with the starting player for that turn, each player will assume the role of an auctioner, chosing one of the revealed industry cards and auctioning it between the players. Each player now may either bid for obtaining that card or pass, and when play has returned to the auctioner it is he who may decide whether he actually takes the money from the highest bidder and auctions another industry card or whether he takes the industry card for himself without paying for it and then allows the next player to take up the role of the auctioner for the remaining cards.

Once all cards have been auctioned off, the next phase will follow with the building of new industrial plants and the discovery of new technologies. Here the players now may use the industry or technology which they had won in an auction and they may bring it onto the gameboard, provided that the have enough money (and possibly resources) to pay the building costs of this industry or technology. Income is generated each round (and from auctions), but to gain the possibly needed resources to build such an industry card a player has to resort to other sources. Thus, a player may be lucky that the resource needed is produced by an industry which he already owns, but otherwise he will be required to purchase a resource from one of the other players or possibly from the bank. However, the bank only offers resources which could be obtained in previous epochs, so the resources on offer there sometimes are not useful in the current epoch.

The players collect victory points by placing new industries and technologies on the gameboard. However, there are certain limitations as to whether a player really will be allowed to collect victory points for building or discovering something. Thus, an industry will only bring victory points when it is built in the same epoch when it was auctioned, and even more strict is the treatment of technologies, since these only can be built in the epoch in which they were auctioned.

When all players had collected their victory points the next player will become starting player, and when all industry cards were auctioned off the next epoch will start.

After the last epoch the game will end and some final victory points will be distributed. Now the bonus markers which could also be won in auctions can be turned into victory points, and players also will get victory points for associated industries or technologies. Finally, the game will be won by the player with most victory points.

Well, I must confess that I was quite surprised to find that - after the success of Alhambra - QUEEN GAMES actually succeeded in publishing another game which can meet highest standards. I think that Industria is a very nice strategy game with a quite resourceful set of rules and an interesting scoring mechanism. What is more, the game actually captures its background story of 600 years of industrialization rather well and succeeds in captivating the players from the beginning. For me, it would seem that that this new QUEEN GAMES title once again is bound to rise quite high in the charts...

Looking for this game? Visit Funagain Games!

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Copyright © 2006 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany